Keeneland and the Jockeys’ Guild, along with Lexington physician Dr. Barry Schumer, have formulated a plan to develop a national system to maintain updated medical histories of jockeys. The information would be immediately accessible to emergency personnel at racetracks throughout the country and possibly the world.
“With the use of an access code, authorized emergency medical staff around the country would be able to get a rider’s medical history,” explained Schumer, Keeneland’s medical director. “The information would be secure, regularly updated, and promptly accessible to the emergency team.”
Working with Jockeys’ Guild national manager Terry Meyocks, Keeneland president Nick Nicholson and the jockeys themselves, Schumer said the goal is to have the system “up and going by the end of the year—hopefully by the fall meeting at Keeneland.”
The Jockey Club, through its subsidiaries InCompass Solutions and The Jockey Club Technology Services, will assist with software development for the system and provide other technological support.
“The plan to maintain a medical history for each Thoroughbred jockey is an example of the Jockeys’ Guild and Keeneland working together for the betterment of the Thoroughbred industry,” Nicholson said. “We are grateful to The Jockey Club companies for their assistance and their expertise.”
Schumer, who has been associated with Keeneland for 27 years, said that knowing a jockey’s medical history is particularly important if a rider is in shock, has a head injury, doesn’t speak English, or has no family present.
John Velazquez, the Eclipse Award-winning jockey and chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild board of directors, was seriously injured in a riding accident at Keeneland in 2006. He voiced his support for the project, noting that riders, like anyone else, can be allergic to particular medications.
“Hopefully, we will have communication with first-aid rooms at racetracks around the country so they have immediate accessibility to a jockey’s medical history,” said Velazquez.
Meyocks said 25 jockeys already have submitted their medical histories for inclusion in the new database.